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KC@NYY: Garcia hurls six frames of one-run ball

Matt Franco's walk-off single in 1999.

Roger Clemens vs. Mike Piazza in 2000.

Luis Castillo's dropped popup in '09.

Those are just a few of the defining moments from the Mets-Yankees matchup that has played itself out in only one postseason series -- a hostile Fall Classic 11 seasons ago -- but has featured plenty of drama regardless. Beginning with a three-game weekend series on Friday at Yankee Stadium, the Subway Series will kick off once again.

It's National League vs. American League.

Queens vs. the Bronx.

And it will start with R.A. Dickey vs. Freddy Garcia.

"It's exciting," said Dickey, the knuckleballer who is making his first Subway Series start. "I try not to make it any more exciting than any other start; it is just another game in a lot of ways, but there is kind of an underlying excitement, obviously, to the rivalry."

Since Interleague Play began in 1997, the Yankees have won 45 of the 78 regular-season games between the two clubs -- not to mention taking four of five in the 2000 World Series. Last year, the clubs split, with each winning two of three at its home ballpark.

Each one of those games had a little different feel than any other.

So should these.

"Being a [former] player, I understand how important [the matchup] is to the city," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's amazing to me. It's kind of like a playoff atmosphere to me, because of the senses of all the fans."

The Mets, winners of nine of their past 13 games but currently without third baseman David Wright and first baseman Ike Davis because of injuries, were one of the best Interleague clubs last year, pulling off a franchise-record 13 wins in 18 games.

Manager Terry Collins wasn't with the Mets then, of course. He'll experience his first Subway Series -- along with 16 of the 25 players on his active roster.

"I want them to experience the whole thing," Collins said. "I mean, they have to learn how to grow in it. They've got to learn how to see it and deal with it. And I haven't been a part of it; I really don't know what to tell them except 'Go play.' Maybe some of the guys that have been in it will take some time and talk about all the things you've got to deal with."

And what exactly will they deal with?

"It's kind of like a playoff atmosphere," said Carlos Beltran, who leads the Mets in Interleague homers, with 28. "It's nice -- a lot of fans cheering for the Yankees, for the Mets. Once the first inning is gone, all you are concentrating on is trying to do your job."

Dickey was 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in three starts against the AL last year, but he hasn't faced the Yankees since being a member of the Twins in 2009, and he hasn't beaten them since playing for the Rangers in '03.

On Friday night -- while coming off his worst start of a rough season -- Dickey will make his first start and third career appearance at Yankee Stadium.

"I just need to keep the ball down," said Dickey, who has a 2.66 ERA in seven career games (one start) against the Yankees. "Having my knuckleball have that late movement on it I think will really combat a lot of those home runs."

Mets: Frankie keeps closing them out
Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez converted his 14th straight save in a 1-0 win over the Nationals on Thursday. That's his longest streak since he converted 16 straight to open 2009. Rodriguez hasn't allowed a run since April 14, a span of 18 innings.

Yankees: Garcia a fan of Interleague Play
Garcia usually makes the most of his Interleague starts.

In 36 such starts during his career, the 34-year-old right-hander is 21-8 with a 2.92 ERA. Garcia, who has a 2.63 ERA in two career starts against the Mets, gave up five runs (four earned) over 5 1/3 innings in his last start, against the Red Sox.

"To me, it's another game," Garcia said. "Maybe for the fans [it's more significant], but I think the players go out there and just try to do their job. I see it that way. I know it's the Subway Series, but that's a game. The fans care more about these games. It's like Boston-Yankees. They care more about those series. It's always fun when there are a lot of people in the ballpark screaming."

Worth noting
• The Mets and Yankees will also play against each other from July 1-3 at Citi Field.

• Fernando Martinez is slated to start at designated hitter against the Yankees on Friday and Saturday, with Beltran sliding into that spot on Sunday.

• The Mets announced on Thursday that any fan with used or unused tickets from Wednesday's game can redeem them for complimentary tickets to a game against the Pirates on May 30 at Citi Field.

• With their 13-2 victory over the Orioles on Thursday night, the Yankees posted their second-largest margin of victory this season. Their largest also came in Baltimore, on April 23, when the Yanks beat the O's, 15-3.

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